Forging our path toward a compassionate economy

By Ron Gura, Co-Founder & CEO Published on Mar 12, 2024

Today we announce Empathy’s Series B funding round—a $47 million raise, led by Index Ventures with participation from General Catalyst, Entrée Capital, Latitude, and Brewer Lane. In addition, some of the largest life insurance carriers in the world like Allianz, MassMutual, MetLife, New York Life, Securian, and Sumitomo joined the round with a strategic investment, bringing our total capital raised to date to $90 million.

Just over three years ago, we started Empathy with a mission to change the way the world deals with loss. Our coverage now extends to over 5 million lives, marking a significant leap from last year and driving a fourfold increase in our revenue for 2023.

Despite the current global economic turbulence, we're not simply setting the new infusion of capital aside for future uncertainties. We’re investing in our growth, doubling down on our support for families in need and on the importance of putting ourselves in their shoes. We believe this is the dawn of the compassionate economy. As our platform evolves to fit an ever-changing market landscape, we remain grounded in a business model that prioritizes the needs of the bereaved. 

But we’re not resting on our laurels. Not even close. As the world keeps changing, the need for Empathy is exploding, putting us increasingly in the spotlight and making it even more crucial to perfect our approach. We're moving faster than ever, scaling up our offerings like our future depends on it—because it does.

Susan using the Empathy app, displaying the Empathy app welcome screen

How we got here

Like many, I've experienced loss firsthand, most significantly when my middle brother, Amir, passed away at a young age. The profound impact this had on my family was just the beginning of my journey with loss, which continually touched my life, as I'm sure it has for most of you. Over the years I saw the ways it affected me and my oldest brother, and especially my mother, who never spoke about what happened, but held that pain in silence. Then as now, I wished I could alleviate that burden for her, and that set me on the path that brought me eventually to create Empathy—where I have the chance to make this burden less painful and difficult for all the other mothers, and all the other families. My co-founder Yon and I saw the pain of bereaved families who didn’t know where to turn, didn’t have the resources and support they needed to get through one of the hardest times in their lives. And we felt that a huge factor in that pain was the cultural silence around death that pervades our society and causes us to ignore or dismiss this extremely common problem.

Understanding that the impacts of loss are universal, we embarked on this journey, driven by a belief in technology's inherent power to facilitate support at scale, across boundaries and demographics. We looked at the antiquated end-of-life industry and saw it as the single largest consumer sector still untouched by innovation, barely even making use of software. 

We are passionate about bringing bereavement care into the open, straightforwardly addressing the pain grieving families face, and providing the essential support they truly need.

We are passionate about bringing bereavement care into the open, straightforwardly addressing the pain grieving families face, and providing the essential support they truly need. About showing up for them. About building solutions for the full range of grief and estate needs. 

This is a mission that has resonated with many people, attracting a broad spectrum of talented individuals from brilliant software engineers and compassionate social workers to imaginative designers, insightful estate lawyers, and purpose-driven top-tier investors. With their help, we have been able to accomplish so much: launching our comprehensive bereavement support platform and empowering a huge number of families across the country during their most challenging times; partnering with Fortune 100 insurance carriers, forward-thinking employers, and other innovative organizations; and evolving our products and services to best support the bereaved, addressing every aspect of loss they may encounter. Whether by helping to navigate emotional challenges or cutting through administrative red tape, our aim is to provide comprehensive support for issues big and small.

What’s next

Today, there is a new industry standard when it comes to bereavement care. Empathy is available at no cost to millions of families nationwide, either as part of their life insurance benefit or coupled with their bereavement leave through their employer. In this way, we are leveling up existing support systems in our communities, shifting the benchmark for what kinds of bereavement support are expected and necessary.

That’s why we are extremely excited today to announce this new round of funding, which will allow us to expand these efforts by leaps and bounds.

With the new infusion of funds from our Series B, we will be able to evolve our services even further, to reach more and more families with more effective ways to help them. More than this, however, it is an important step on our path toward sparking cultural change, toward shifting the way we think of and approach loss, bringing it out of the shadows and giving it its rightful place as an important, crucial, and normal part of life.

In this sense, the loss of a loved one is a life cycle event, an important occurrence that punctuates our lives, like marriage or the birth of a child. We recognize that it is how we show up for others at these moments that defines what we value and who we are. Our mission at Empathy represents a commitment to being there for families in all of the moments that matter, taking our part in an economy of care and compassion.

When our life insurance partners support our mission with their strategic investments, they are signaling that the industry as a whole is beginning to understand that this cultural change is long overdue. There is a growing awareness that as a society we need to be having this conversation—and Empathy is at the center of it. We are in the exact position needed to bring about this shift, and this latest round of funding solidifies our commitment to creating a sea change in how the world deals with loss, making it way less overwhelming for every family out there.

As for what comes next, the sky’s the limit. There is so much potential here for innovative solutions to the problems families face. Empathy is committed to navigating this path, remaining focused on our long-term vision as we aim to play a pivotal role in reshaping the future of bereavement care. No longer can any of us stand by and let families suffer the pain and hardship of bereavement alone and in silence. Together we will bring it into the light, so that everyone gets the support they need during the hardest moments in their lives. Because when we invest in families—we all win.

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